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Price check on the sigmoidoscope!

Crusing the isles of University SurplusSo I’m wandering through the greater Fort Douglas area, as I’m wont to do, imagining this splendid area back in the day when it actually was a fort. For some reason I get this Stepfordian image of perfectly outfitted soldiers and their Cleaveresque families enjoying the good life, devoid of crime, drugs, and reality TV. I’m poking fun, but I can actually see it here: the lawns are still meticulously trimmed and manicured, the old theater looks like something out of, well, an old movie, and the buildings themselves are satisfyingly red brick, perfectly symmetrical, and placed confidently in their lots. Before you think I’m poking fun again, I write this as I lean against one of the many ubiquitous white picket fences in the neighborhood.

The U's Surplus and Salvage building

The U's Surplus and Salvage building

But on this particular stroll I stumble across something I honestly have never noticed up here. Apparently the U has a “Surplus and Salvage” business going on. There it is, at 210 Connor Street, in a grand old warehouse of a building. It looks for all the world like a shoe factory but step inside and you’ll find a never-ending garage sale, only with some pretty cool stuff that will never find its way to your neighbor’s driveway on a Saturday morning. I know BYU used to do something like this with its used practice pianos (my advice, never buy one. Those boards have been hammered more times than Lindsay Lohan). But what I saw here was something in a different league altogether. This is the cache of one-time treasure the U has used to its completion and must now take the proverbial iceberg out to sea.

Ever thought to yourself, “Boy, I wish I had an Onan natural gas generator”? Well, apparently you can get one here, along with a myriad of other trinkets and gadgets. Recorders, cameras, computer processors, in fact all manner of electronics. Pumps, drills, stainless steel counters (one can never have too many of them). X-ray machines, a forklift, even something they’ve dubbed an “exam chair.” I’m trying it out now. Don’t like the vibe, think I’ll pass. There’s even a hotdog roller. Whatever the hell that is. I am, however, seriously considering the “meter variac potentiometer.” There are three left and I might get them all in case company comes over.

I did learn that educational and government agencies get first dibs on everything, and the public can have a go 15 days after that. They even set up a Dutch auction where they reduce the price on certain items as the month wanes on, after which the next month’s load of stuff comes in and that great circle of consumptive life starts all over again.

Great. Another potentially expensive addiction. See where taking walks gets you?